Here is the scene. 3 development groups within the company all working on inter-related applications. Each group wants to make a name for themselves and get the cool projects from then on. Each one builds their software with marginal rates of success.
Then something else happens. Each one starts to add 'the grey area' to their app. What is 'the grey area'? It's those features that aren't clearly one apps responsibilities. So in an effort to provide great software, the team adds those features. But so do the other teams.
Additionally, those other features also create new problems. Business users aren't clear where to go to perform those 'grey area' tasks. Each unit is telling them to come to their software to do that. Unexpected results are produced by the software because each is going above and beyond their expected roles.
This scenario gets played out in company after company. This scenario is what makes enterprise architecture so important.
As a solutions designer, it is critical that the roles and responsibilities
for each piece of software be laid out as clearly as possible. Does that
mean 900 pages of requirements? NO!
It's means setting a clear mission for the software with clear integration points. It means collaboration between teams. It means less
competition between teams.
Clean Abstraction is a design goal for marketing systems. It means efficient development (no wasted time on redundant features). It
means clear business value. It means modular software that is
reused and reintegrated instead of rebuilt.
If you are building marketing systems / software from scratch or off the shelf, focus on clean abstraction. Marketing changes too quickly to waste development time on unwanted, or unnecessary features.
As we begin to add posts in 2011, we stepped back to look at our business and our blog. We realized that the two are perfectly aligned. Although the majority of our focus is within the SAS product suite, our focus is marketing analytics and operations.
Given that, it is time for us to expand our commentary. So, in the coming weeks you will begin to see more content regarding some of our other technology partners including Teradata, Netezza and Unica.
If you have a question about a particular technology or topic, we'd love to hear from you. Comment below or email us a firstname.lastname@example.org .
If you have worked with marketing technologies for any length of time, you've encountered this problem. How can we integrate our CRM with the rest of our organization? How does CRM interact with our call center, website, applications, database, loyalty system, etc., etc.
We've been there.
Throughout our travels, we've picked up a few tips. Hopefully they'll help you.
- Tight integration is dangerous. Just don't do it. - Marketing technology changes faster than fashion. Today's latest and greatest is quickly replaced with tomorrow's new market maker.
- Integrate through marketing concepts not technical application specs. - Abstracting technologies through the use marketing concepts like 'campaign', 'offer', 'contact history', 'registration', 'enrollment', etc. Define what these mean for the organization and build a data structure flexible enough for all applications to contribute to those concepts.
- Databases and services are the lifeline. - Long term success hinges on ease of use and flexibility. Simple services allow for plug and play scenarios. Well designed databases create environments that record interrelated transactions based on their role or concept. This makes business people happy. They can measure, analyze and predict without spending precious hours compiling, cleaning, and organizing data.
- Think replaceable. - Always remember that what you are adding to your technology stack could be replaced in a year and you will need to re-integrate something else. How much of your current work will be thrown away? Minimize the one-time development and maximize your efficiency and cost savings to the organization over the long haul.
We like to think we aren't integrating technology. We are simply making all of our applications play nicely together.
There is much more to this topic, but these 4 tips can minimize your stress for ears to come.
Customer Relationship Management or CRM is not only a buzzword but a way of doing business. But when companies and organizations implement CRM technologies and processes, aren't they simply organizing themselves to leverage analytic data?
Companies are saying, "I want to know my customer better" and "I want to speak their language". But they are really asking, who is my customer and what language do they speak? These questions are answered through measurement, analytics and solid reporting.
The next step is acting on this data. So the analytics end and some other process begins, right? Wrong, analytics is a major marketing player and should be involved in all aspects the function. Too many times we do things and ask, how is it working? But that can be hard to guage. We contend that analytics needs to be a major factor in how all functions are performed. Don't go to market without a measurement plan. Don't talk to the customer without a way to measure or learn.
So I argue that CRM is simply the process of organizing around the measurement and analysis of a customer.
We'd love to hear your view. Please comment or send us a message with your thoughts.